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Sen. Louis P. DiPalma and Rep. Joseph M. McNamara have introduced legislation (2022-S 2442 / 2022-H 7784) that would create a joint study commission to examine the governance structure of Rhode Island’s public education system.

The purpose of the commission would be to study, review, and make recommendations on how to most efficiently and effectively administer the governance of the Pre-K through 16 public education system in Rhode Island.

“In 2013, the General Assembly established the current governance structure for pre-kindergarten through higher education.  It is imperative we formally assess the effectiveness and efficiency of this structure, especially when examining it through the lens of the approximately 140,000 Pre-K to secondary students and approximately 30,000 higher education students,” said Senator DiPalma, Chair of the Senate Rules, Government Ethics & Oversight Committee (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton).

“In light of the unique challenges that face our schools today, it’s a good idea to take a step back and analyze the way the state manages public education.  Those challenges have only been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic, distance learning and the way parents and students interact with schools. This commission would go a long way in addressing some of those issues through the lens of school governance,” said Representative McNamara, Chair of the House Education Committee (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston).

The legislators argue that the legislation is needed to ensure that our children are being properly served in school and they point to the current state takeover of the Providence Public School District as an issue that will be examined on the commission.

The special joint commission would be made up of five members of the Senate and five members of the House of Representatives to be appointed by the Senate President and the Speaker of the House.

Senator DiPalma’s bill has been referred to the Senate Education Committee and Representative McNamara’s bill was referred to the House Education Committee.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.

He currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals.

He is a member of Local Independent Online News Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.